Twins of Evil -- Atlanta, GA -- October 25th, 2012
I can distinctly remember my first encounter with Rob Zombie's music. I was about 7-years-old, and was flipping through one of those ads offering 20 CDs for a penny a piece. While skimming through the various covers, one stuck out. It featured a demonic looking man with glowing eyes and a crooked smile with pentagrams adorning the corners. I had nightmares for days. 14 years later, I shuffled into the Lakewood Ampitheater for what was easily my most anticipated event of the year.
My excitement was two-fold, really. Obviously, I've been a Zombie fan for years. In fact, he was the reason I started listening to metal. However, I've also had a morbid curiosity with Marilyn Manson's performances for several years. I saw him in 2009, and he was a joke. He screamed at stagehands, and was terribly out of shape. As I took my seat, I hoped tonight would be different.
First, Sid from Slipknot did his DJ thing. It was clear that most of the crowd wasn't too into it, and I can't really blame them. It isn't that Sid is bad. Quite contrary, he seems to have a lot of talent. But I'd argue that this wasn't the best tour to feature a DJ. The only thing worth noting about his set was the weird 10 minute song with the American Horror Story commercials looping on his screen. Is FX paying him or something? It didn't really fit with the sound.
About 20 minutes after Sid's set ended, the lights in the ampitheater went down, and the sound of Goblin's Suspiria filled the air. People went crazy as the curtain dropped and the band launched into Hey, Cruel World. Not the best opener, but it's certainly better than some of his previous choices. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by Manson's set. I'm glad to see the theatricality come back. He had numerous costume changes (still dressing up as the Pope) and several backdrops. His set may have been a greatest hits of sorts, but that didn't stop people -- myself included -- from enjoying the hell out of the show. On a side note, he mentioned he was trying not to drink as much, and joked about sobriety and AA meetings. I'm not sure how much of this is Manson's notorious sarcasm and how much is truth. He seems to have sobered up, and I for one, am glad. Also, Mechanical Animals is one of my favorite albums, so hearing Coma White was a welcomed treat.
Manson left the stage and a giant King Kong backdrop went up. About 20 minutes later, the arena went dark, and Zombie's standard mix of album intros began playing. He arrived on stage on a giant flaming robot and took his place behind his six-armed skeleton mic stand while the band belted out the intro to Hellbilly Deluxe 2 opener, Jesus Frankenstein. Like Manson's set before, this was another greatest hits setlist. It seems futile to think Zombie's set will ever change. On one hand, I understand the frustration of the fans, but the band played with ferocity as if these songs were being performed for the first time, so I really have no qualms with his set list. Rob's banter included talking about how he wasn't in the Halloween mood, teasing Piggy D about losing the audience chant competition. The crowd ate it all up, and Rob really seemed to be having a good time. At one point, someone tossed him a bright orange pumpkin shirt, which he promptly put on and continued to wear for the remainder of the set. To be perfectly honest, at the end of the 90 minute set, I had forgotten Marilyn Manson was even on the tour.
One final note: I'm tired of people filming entire concerts on their cell phones. One or two songs is fine, but if you're going to record the entire event, don't get pissed when I cheer, pump my fist, and actually, y'know, enjoy the event I payed $60 for.
TL;DR - great show, Manson is a surprisingly good performer, Zombie blew him out of the water
Marilyn Manson setlist
Hey, Cruel World...
The Love Song
The Dope Show
Rock Is Dead
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
King Kill 33°
The Beautiful People
Rob Zombie Setlist
Meet the Creeper
Living Dead Girl
More Human Than Human
Mars Needs Women
Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red, Kroovy)
Scum of the Earth
Thunder Kiss '65